Costa Rican Oil Development Would Violate Numerous National and International Laws and Treaties
By Margaret Thompson & María Suárez Toro
Despite government claims to the contrary, development of oil in Costa
Rica would violate numerous international treaties that have been signed
or ratified by that government. These include the Rio Declaration
and the Agenda 21 Program of Action from the UN Conference on Environment
and Development in Rio de Janeiro in 1993, the Kyoto Protocol, the
Convention on Biodiversity, and the Convention on Climate Change, among
others. Since Costa Rica ratified these treaties and agreements,
under its constitution, these agreements are treated as law, meaning they
are legally binding.
At the present, the governments that signed the Convention on Climatic Change, Costa Rica being one of them, should be investing their resources in search of new forms of production and consumption of energy that do not affect the environment and the health of people.
Listen to Emily Yozell, an attorney and activist, explain these national and international legal instruments and their relevance to the oil development struggle in Costa Rica:
Governments and Oil Companies Resist International
Climate Protection Measures Calling for Alternative Energy Development
Today although the entire world knows it, the oil companies, instead of dedicating their multimillion dollar resources to create alternative clean sources of energy, are instead using their power and influence over governments to continue putting their thirst for profits above those of humanity's need to to put itself in harmony with the rest of nature to to survive on this planet. The planet is a living being that has the capacity to regenerate itself alone. One of the mechanisms it has used is that of expelling the species that threaten its natural balance. It will survive. The ones that are threated with extinction are us the human species unless we take seriously the problem and without ambivalence.
In this context, because of its conservationist policies of the past, Costa Rican is one of the countries that could qualify under the Kyoto Protocol to become a pilot project for the Mechanisms of Clean Development, and Costa Rican has undertaken it by looking for alternative and cleaner forms of energy. For example, it has developed a third geothermal plant in the Miravalles Volcano in Guanacaste, that uses the vapor of the volcano to turn it into clean energy for the environment and its inhabitants. The plant has been built within a model of public and private cooperation that is more favorable than the oil concessions because it stipulates that although it is in the hands of a private company such as the Geothermic Company of Guanecaste, the contract stipulates that after five years it will belong to the Costa Rican State at no cost.
However, in the midst of these efforts in the country to protect the
environment and the health of its inhabitants, the last three presidential
administrations have put up the country for sale to the big international
companies that are desparately searching for new sources of oil in
order to increase their profits despite the consequences.
Return to main feature, "Costa Rica: From Banana Republic to Oil Republic?"